Alabama Academy of Honor


Thomas H. Lowder

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 2012.



Thomas H. Lowder is chairman and chief executive officer of Colonial Properties Trust, an NYSE Listed, multifamily focused real estate investment trust (REIT), with commercial assets in the Sunbelt region of the United States.

Born in Montgomery in 1949 to Edward and Catherine Lowder, Tom is one of three sons. Lowder graduated with honors from Auburn University in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Birmingham, where in 1974 he married Jarman Fearing, a registered nurse and graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Throughout his youth, Lowder shared a common interest with his father, real estate. He watched his father create many businesses from the ground up -- from home building to insurance and mortgage companies, and finally Colonial Properties. At the time, Colonial Properties was focused on shopping center development and leasing, but the family had ownership in hotels, apartments, and office properties. These experiences taught him many life lessons and prepared him for the leadership role at Colonial Properties Trust that he assumed in 1976.

Lowder took this family business public in 1993 and listed Colonial Properties Trust on the NYSW. With Lowder as CEO, the company grew from $475 million in total market capitalization to $5.3 billion before he retired from active management in 2006 to care for his wife who was suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s. He returned three years later as CEO, in December 2008, to lead the company after the financial recession and Wall Street crisis.

Active in his community and beyond, Lowder serves or has served as a member of the boards of Children’s Hospital of Alabama, the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation, the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (“NAREIT”), the Crippled Children’s Foundation, Birmingham-Southern College, The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, and United Way of Central Alabama.

He is past chairman of the Birmingham Area Chapter of the American Red Cross and of Children’s Hospital of Alabama. He served as chairman of the 2001 United Way Campaign for Central Alabama and chairman of its board in 2007.

Additionally, Lowder and his fiancee, Susan Alford Carrington of Lynchburg, Virginia, are active in philanthropic efforts to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and ALS and other neurological diseases, which took the lives of each of their spouses.

He holds an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an honorary Doctorate of Law from Birmingham-Southern College.

Lowder has three daughters -- Hunter, Heather, and Kelly. Susan has three sons -- Alex, John, and Stuart.